New Book Reviews for Kids

Below are staff reviews of select new books in the Youth Services Department.
For a list of all the new and forthcoming Youth books, click here.

New Book Reviews

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

by Rae Carson

Reading Level: Grades 7+

The gods bestowed the godstone on Princess Lucero-Elissa de Riqueza on her namiing day.  Sixteen years later she has not exibited any of the heroic traits looked for in a chosen one.  Elissa is used to being a disappointment.   As  the obese, untalented younger sister of the beautiful, slim and multitalented Princess Alodia, Elissa is usually the object of pity or scorn.  But since her father decided to use his second daughter in a political marriage with King Alejandro there is no way for Elissa to avoid the very public ceremony or the disappointed eyes of her groom.

King Alejandro isn't concered with his new bride's weight or beauty.  He needs a chosen one to save his kingdom.  After the wedding it becomes apparent that Alejandro is not the only one who wants the bearer of the godstone.  Many do and most are willing to kill to control her.

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Books by Rae Carson

Other fantasy tales of teens tangled in prophecy and politics include:

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Graceling by Kristin Cashore and

Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce


Reading Level: 7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Fantasy, Misfits Location: JY Fiction


by Lissa Price

Reading Level: Grades 6 - 9

Before the war life spans have been extended to up to 200 years. In order to ensure that the new extreme elderly could support themselves the government made it illegal for anyone under the age of 19 to hold a job. When the spore bombs were launched by the enemy during the war, only children and the elderly had been vaccinated against this man-made plague. As a result the only people left alive in the United States are the Starters (children under 19) and the Enders (adults over 65). Callie and her brother are among the unlucky children who had no living grandparents and are forced to live illegally on the street trying to avoid being swept up into one of the horrible forced labor camps for unclaimed minors. Then Callie hears about The Body Bank, where Enders pay huge fees to possess a Starter's body for a few hours or more via computer chips implanted in the Starter's brain. Callie thinks this is her way out. She only has to rent her body three times and then the big payoff will come. But can it really be that easy?

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More books by Lissa Price

Reading Level: 6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Dystopias, Family, Friends, Misfits, Mysteries, Relationships, Science Fiction, Survival Location: JY Fiction

Chloe and the Lion

by Mac Barnett

Grades K-3

A truly original, silly, funny, and downright cool picture book about a girl named Chloe, a loose-change finder who ends up lost in the woods after a dizzyingly long merry-go-round ride... where she meets a huge lion. (The lion is really a dragon, not a lion. Illustrator Adam Rex has been fired for replacing the lion with a "cooler" dragon. Sorry. The remainder of the book will be handled by a true illustrator who can follow directions. Apologies for this interruption.)

So Chloe, in the woods, suddenly comes upon a li-

(Sorry again. The new illustrator seems to have drawn a lion who has eaten the author of the book.)

-on, who lets out a ferocious roar.

(You know what? That roar didn't look very ferocious... how about a scarier lion?)

And so on, and so forth.

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More books by Mac Barnett.

More books by Adam Rex.


Illustrator: Adam Rex Reading Level: Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade,3rd Grade Subjects: Adventure, Animals--Real, Don't Miss These, Friends, Humor, Read-Alouds Location: Picture Books


by I.C. Springman

Reading Level: Ages 3-6

A magpie with a very empty nest is given a marble by a helpful mouse....

...but then he gets more...

...and more....

...and more...

How will magpie fit in his nest with all that stuff?

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More books by I.C. Springman.

Illustrator: Brian Lies Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade Subjects: Animals--Talking, Don't Miss These, Friends, Humor, Non-Prose, Social Issues Location: Picture Books

The Obstinate Pen

by Frank W. Dormer

Reading Level: PreK-2

Uncle Flood is ready to begin writing his story - beginning with this sentence: "The following story is all true." (A great first line, if he does say so himself.)

However, his pen has other ideas for Uncle Flood's first line:

"You have a big nose."

"You have eyes as large as dinner plates."

"Your hair is like a bird's nest."

Furious, Uncle Flood tosses the rude pen out the window.   Can you imagine what sort of havoc the pen will wreak next?

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More books by Frank W. Dormer

Reading Level: Preschoolers,Kindergarteners,1st Grade,2nd Grade Subjects: Don't Miss These, Humor Location: Picture Books

Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs

by Michaela Muntean

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 5

After he was seriously injured in a fall from a high wire, Luciano Anastasini needed to come up with a new circus act for himself. That is when five, unwanted "problem" dogs on death row in the pound (and later five more) came along and together they found what their purpose in life was meant to be.

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More books by Michaela Muntean

More books by K.C. Bailey

More books by Stephen Kazmierski

Illustrator: K.C. Bailey and Stephen Kazmierski Reading Level: 2nd Grade,3rd Grade,4th Grade,5th Grade Subjects: Animals--Real, Biographies, Misfits, Non-Fiction Location: J Non-Fiction

The Always War

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

For as long as anyone alive can remember Eastam and Westam have been at war; battling for control of The Center. Life is dreary in Waterford City. Everything revolves around the war effort. The best and brightest children are sent to military school at the age of eight. Everyone else's work somehow connects to the war too whether it is making weapons, delivering weapons, or recycling scrapped weapons. But when local war hero Gideon returns to town he and his former neighbor, Tessa, will accidentally discover the truth about the never-ending war.

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More books by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Reading Level: 5th Grade,6th Grade,7th Grade,8th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Dystopias, Science Fiction Location: JY Fiction


by Marissa Burt

Reading Level: Grades 4-6

12-year-old Una flits through her school days alone, barely noticed by her teachers or fellow students.  Home is the same.  Her foster mother never talks or even looks at her.  Una's one pleasure is the library where she can sit for hours and lose herself in a book.  She never meant to get lost for good.

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Books by Marissa Burt

Other tales of stories come to life include:

Inkheart by Cornelia Caroline Funke

Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka and

Magic By the Book by Nina Berenstein


Location: J Fiction

Zita the Spacegirl: Book 1: Far from Home

by Ben Hatke

Reading Level: Grades 3-5

If you found a hole out in the grass while exploring, and inside the hole was a meteoroid, and poking out of the meteoroid was a button, you'd probably push it, wouldn't you? (I would.  Zita did.)

You'd probably freak out when your best friend Joseph got sucked into into this weird vortex thing after you pushed the botton... and then when you pushed the button again, YOU got sucked in, plopping out onto an alien planet. (I would. Zita kind of did.)

Zita's best friend Joseph has been kidnapped by a cult of aliens who believe the world is about to end... and the button that brought both her and Joseph to this alien world is crushed accidentally by a huge alien named Strong-Strong.

So now Zita's totally stuck on an alien planet that apparently is about to come to an end, her best friend has been kidnapped, AND she has no way to get home.

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More books by Ben Hatke.

Reading Level: 3rd Grade,4th Grade,5th Grade Subjects: Adventure, Friends, In Other Lands, Science Fiction, Survival Location: J Graphic Novels


by Gina Damico

Reading Level: Grades 8+

16-year-old Lex Bartleby was the perfect daughter, friend and student until she entered middle school.  Almost over night she became an angry, disrespectful, violent teenager.  Her desperate parents have tried everything...talking, grounding, counseling but nothing has worked.  When she is finally expelled from high school, her parents make one desperate effort to save her.  Lex is exiled to her mysterious Uncle Mort's farm where she will spend the summer milking cows and feeding pigs...or so her parents think.

When the terrifying biker guy accosts her at the isolated rural bus stop, Lex gets ready to fight for her life and then he calls her name.  THIS is Uncle Mort?  He is not a farmer but he is a harvester...a harvester of human souls.  And he wants Lex to join the family business.

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Books by Gina Damico

Other tales about death and reapers include:

Meridian by Amber Kizer

Mort by Terry Pratchett and

Shadowland by Meg Cabot


Reading Level: 8th Grade,High Schoolers Subjects: Family, Fantasy, Misfits, Supernatural Location: JY Fiction